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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pakistan: After Survival, is Thriving Possible?

When Pakistan flooded in late July 2010, the western world didn’t hear too much about it, despite the fact that one fifth of Pakistan was underwater, 2,000 people died, and 20 million were affected. It was a disaster of epic proportions.

With your help, we tended to survivors in the immediate aftermath. But once the clean water, medicine, food, and shelter were distributed, there was still so much to do. As with other post-disaster scenarios, we wanted to know if we could make people more resilient in the face of future disasters, and raise the standard of living to a higher level than it had been before tragedy struck.

We wanted to make sure the poorest families had better livelihoods. For example, we found ultra-poor landless women and gave them goats and cattle and training on how to raise these animals and treat common livestock diseases.

Shahnaz Mai has five boys and three daughters. The floods destroyed her home, drowned her four goats, and wiped out all of the food she had. Her situation was beyond desperate. She says when she heard how HOPE International Development Agency was helping women like herself she had a ‘glimmer of hope for [her] betterment.’ She said she felt she might be able to stand on her feet again. She was right.

Shahnaz now has a goat that she has been fully trained in the care of. She sells the milk for 30 rupees a day. When the goat has a kid, she’ll sell it for a ‘windfall profit’. At this stage of the game, she says that she and her family now depend on nobody for charity.

Two years after losing everything, Shahnaz and her children are doing well. They did not only survive mind-numbing catastrophe, they are strong and self-sufficient in their new post-flood reality. Fortunately, there are many others like them. We have the privilege of working with them.

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